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Issue 51 - January 2015


Table of Contents

HKIE Accreditation Visit

An accreditation visit by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) was held on 12-13 January 2015. Members of HKIE’s visiting team and an independent Washington Accord Review Panel gathered at the Office of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) for the accreditation exercise. Prof. You-lin Xu, Dean of FCE, Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Associate Dean, as well as Dr Michael Yam, Prof. Wan Ki Chow, and Prof. William Lam, the respective Heads of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE), and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), met with the visitors to review strategic and generic issues affecting six programmes, including the BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering (both full and part time), the BEng (Hons) in Building Services Engineering (full time and sandwich as well as 2-year self-financed full time), and the BSc (Hons) in Building Engineering and Management (both full and part time). Programme leaders and key academic staff responsible for major elements of the programmes under review were split into three groups to facilitate discussion of the relevant issues with the HKIE visitors, who also attended an informal reception with external stakeholders, such as representatives of Advisory Board members and employers of graduates. Prof. Philip Chan, Deputy President and Provost, was also present at a combined session with all the programme leaders and visitors. In addition, current students as well as recent graduates of each programme were selected to meet with the HKIE visitors as part of the accreditation exercise. Outcome evidences of student work were reviewed, including assignments, projects, examination question papers, answer scripts, lab reports etc.

On the second day, HKIE visitors were given a tour of Departmental labs, the Industrial Center, and University facilities like the library and the English Language Centre before they had a final meeting with the Dean, the Department Heads, Programme Leaders and other key staff to wrap up the visit. It was a mutually productive meeting for all concerned.

Second International Conference on Sustainable Urbanization Held on PolyU Campus

More than 300 researchers and industry practitioners from 19 countries and regions gathered on the campus of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) from 7 to 9 January 2015 for the Second International Conference on Sustainable Urbanization (ICSU), which was jointly organized by the Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development (RISUD) and the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE). The conference was chaired by Professor Jin-Guang TENG, Director of RISUD. Apart from a set of plenary lectures by distinguished speakers given in the three mornings, the conference was organized into six symposia, each of which focused on on a distinct theme and chaired by a leading PolyU academic:

Symposium 1 International Symposium on Emerging Materials and Technologies for Sustainable Infrastructure,
chaired by Professor Jin-Guang TENG

Symposium 2

International Symposium on Sustainable Urban Renewal in High-Density Cities,
chaired by Professor Geoffrey Q.P. Shen
Symposium 3 International Symposium on Sustainable Water in Cities,
chaired by Professor Xiang-dong LI
Symposium 4 International Symposium on Urban Data and Urban Computing,
chaired by Professor Xiao-li DING
Symposium 5 International Symposium on Energy Saving and Renewable Energy Technologies for Buildings,
chaired by Professor Hong-xing YANG
Symposium 6 Second Cross-Strait Forum on Sustainable Urban Development,
chaired by Professor Jan-Ming KO

The three-day conference was officially kicked off by Professor Timothy W. TONG, President of PolyU, Professor You-lin XU, Dean of FCE, and Professor Jin-Guang TENG, Director of RISUD. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Professor TONG said, "Sustainable development has become pivotal to the future of cities in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. High-density urban development not only brings economic growth, but also generates problems in relation to growing pressures on natural resources. To preserve the environment for the generations to come, there is an urgent need for coordinated action on urban sustainability." Ir. C.S. Wai, the Guest-of-Honor of the Opening Ceremony and Permanent Secretary for Development (Works) of the Hong Kong S.A.R. Government, then delivered an opening speech to introduce the impressive infrastructure development programme for Hong Kong.

Prof. Timothy W. TONG Prof. You-lin XU Prof. Jin-Guang TENG Ir C.S. Wai

Seven prominent international and local experts delivered keynote lectures at the conference. They included Prof. Chimay ANUMBA of The Pennsylvania State University, Prof. Hongguang JIN of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mr Alex LUI, Chairman of Green Deck Taskforce of PolyU, Prof. Perry L. McCARTY of Stanford University, Dr Baoxing QIU of the Chinese Society for Urban Studies, Prof. K.V. RAGHAVAN of the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, and Prof. Jerald L. SCHNOOR of The University of Iowa.

According to the organizers, massive high-density urbanization in many parts of the world, often in regions where the available land and resources are limited relative to the size of the population, has posed many challenges for society. Such challenges include the provision of effective urban infrastructures (e.g. transport systems), adequate housing, sufficient energy and water supplies, a clean environment, and sustainable community support systems to meet people’s needs.

Generously supported by many organizations, the conference provided an international forum for the scientific/engineering community to examine these challenges, and to find effective solutions to ensure a sustainable process of urbanization as well as sustainable management of urbanized areas.

Following the conference, the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of RISUD held its first meeting on 10 January 2015 to review the progress made by RISUD since its launch in January 2012. Members of the IAC provided many valuable advice on the future development of RISUD. The IAC of RISUD includes influential industrial leaders in Hong Kong and distinguished researchers from outside Hong Kong. Chaired by Ir Dr Andrew CHAN, Chairman of Arup Group Trusts, the IAC was set up by RISUD to provide advice on the development of RISUD, and to facilitate collaborations between RISUD and R & D organizations around the world.

EMI International Conference 2015

On 7-9 January 2015, the first Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) International Conference outside of North America was held at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Prof. Alex Wai, Vice-President (Research Development) of PolyU, delivered a welcome speech at the opening ceremony on the first day, followed by Prof. Roberto Ballarini, President of EMI, and Prof. Kam Tim Chau, Chair Prof. of Geotechnical Engineering at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who chaired the organizing committee of the conference. Financially supported by the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE), the conference’s theme was mechanics for civil engineers against natural hazards.

With 21 parallel sessions and 6 keynote lectures, including one from Prof. You-Lin Xu, Dean of FCE, the conference attracted more than 130 scholars and practitioners from 20 different countries. Participants of the conference were invited to submit their work to be published in a special issue of the Journal of Engineering Mechanics of the American Society of Civil Engineers.


FCE Academics’ Research Supported by RGC Collaborative Research Fund Scheme 2014/15

The Faculty of Construction and Environment is pleased that two of its leading academics have recently been approved for funding from RGC’s Collaborative Research Fund Scheme 2014/15.

Ir Professor Cheuk-ming MAK of the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) was awarded a funding of HK$4,368,468 for the development of design methodologies for the improvement of wind and thermal comfort in the urban environment. Led by Prof. Mak, the group project is for 36 months. Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs) are Prof. Jian-lei NIU, Associate Head of BSE; Prof. Kenny KWOK of the Institute for Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Western Sydney; Dr John Zhang LIN, Associate Prof. in the Division of Building Science and Technology at the City University of Hong Kong; Dr Kam-Tim TSE of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Prof. Bo-sin TANG of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the University of Hong Kong; and Dr Tsz Cheung LEE of the Hong Kong Observatory.

Prof. Tao WANG of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) received $4,925,180 for his proposal entitled “Heterogeneous Chemistry of Atmospheric Reactive Nitrogen Oxides: An Integrative Programme for Cutting-edge Science.” Co-PIs for this 3-year project are Dr George Christian of IRCELYON/ CNRS; Dr Hai GUO, Associate Prof. of CEE; Dr Kin-fai HO, Research Assistant Prof. of the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care of the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Prof. Alexis Kai Hon LAU of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Prof. Shuncheng LEE of PolyU’s CEE; Dr Peter LOUIE of the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department; and Dr Zhe WANG, Research Assistant Prof. of CEE. Congratulations to all of them.

BSE Scholar’s Research Supported by Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF)

Ir Professor Cheuk-ming MAK of the Department of Building Services Engineering has recently received funding support of HK$441,240 from the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) for his research project. Entitled “Envelope design to improve ventilation performance of residential buildings in dense urban environments,” the project is expected to last for 24 months. This is the third time that Prof. Mak has received funding support from ECF. Congratulations to Prof. Mak.

Ir Prof. Cheuk-ming MAK

ITF Funding for Project led by BSE Academic

A project led by Dr LU Lin, Vivien, of the Department of Building Services Engineering was recently approved by the Innovation and Technology Commission through the University-Industry Collaboration Programme, which leverages the knowledge and resources of universities to stimulate private sector interest in research and development. Entitled “Development of Novel High Dispersed Transparent Heat Insulation Paints for Glass,” the 2-year project will receive $3,953,700, including ITF funding of $1,929,700 and sponsorship of $2,024,000 from industry. Congratulations to Dr Lu.

Dr Lu Lin

BSE Scholar Appointed Guest Editor of Prestigious Journal

Ir Professor Cheuk-ming MAK of the Department of Building Services Engineering has been appointed to serve as a guest editor of a Special Issue of Building and Environment on Building Acoustics and Noise Control. Building and Environment is an international journal that publishes original research papers and review articles related to building science and human interaction with the built environment. It has an impact factor of 2.700 in the 2013 JCR. According to JCR, It is a top journal and ranked 5/58 in the field of “Construction & Building Technology”. The Editor-in-Chief is Professor Qingyan CHEN of Purdue University in the USA.

The submission period for this special issue ( is 1 Feb – 30 March 2015.

Manuscripts and any supplementary material should be submitted through Elsevier Editorial System (EES) at

Ir Prof. Cheuk-ming MAK

BRE Academic Led CIOB Safety Seminar

On 13 January 2015, Prof. Albert Chan of the Department of Building and Real Estate gave a seminar on the safety management of ethnic minority (EM) workers in the Hong Kong construction industry. Organized by the Health and Safety Advisory sub-group of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), the seminar attracted around 50 delegates from the construction industry and academia. Prof. Chan shared his research findings of 23 semi-structured interviews with construction safety professionals, highlighting the safety management problems faced by ethnic minority construction workers and measures for improvements. Those in attendance had a chance to rank the relative degree of problems and effectiveness of measures to improve the safety performance of EM workers. At the end of the seminar, Mr Lam Wai Choi, Vice President of CIOB Hong Kong Chapter, facilitated the Q&A session.

MoU Signed between FCE and HKU SPACE

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) and the HKU SPACE Community College on the afternoon of 14 January 2015. Representing FCE was Prof. You-Lin Xu, Dean of FCE, while the HKU SPACE Community College was represented by its College Principal, Prof. Lung-Sang Chan. At the signing ceremony were Prof. Xiaoli Ding, Associate Dean (Partnership); Dr Michael Yam, interim Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate; Prof. Ya-ping Du of the Department of Building Services Engineering; Prof. William Lam, Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Prof. John Shi, Head of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics. The MoU will pave the way for further collaboration between the two institutions.


MoU between FCE and VTC

The Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) has been admitting a substantial number of Higher Diploma (HD) students from the Vocational Training Council (VTC) at senior year/ advanced levels in the past several years. To strengthen the alliance between FCE and VTC, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the two parties on 15 December 2014. While the Institute of Vocational Education’s Engineering Discipline of VTC will provide a list of recommended students for FCE’s consideration for admission, FCE will advise on related VTC curricula to better prepare VTC students for university studies and brief the IVE HD students about FCE’s admission criteria. This liaison will also support PolyU’s bid for more senior year places in the 2016-19 Academic Development Proposal.


LSGI Academic Lectured at HK Science Museum

Dr Charles Wong, Assistant Professor of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, conducted a Popular Science Lecture on Hong Kong’s urban heat island phenomenon at the Hong Kong Science Museum on 13 Dec 2014. He has been monitoring the effects of Hong Kong’s urban heat island. In the lecture, he introduced the findings of his research team and made projections on the future of the urban heat situation in Hong Kong.


Kudos for BSE Scholars

In recognition of his outstanding contributions in advancing knowledge of heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) systems and indoor air quality (IAQ), Prof. Jianlei Niu, Associate Head of the Department of Building Services Engineering, was inducted into the Academy of Fellows of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ) in July 2014. Founded in 1991, the International Academy of Indoor Air Sciences (IAIAS) is a multidisciplinary, scientific, honorific organization established to promote scholarship for indoor environmental and building sciences. Academy membership is by invitation, following a nomination and election procedure, and in recognition of research, practice, and/or outstanding service in advancing the indoor air sciences. In 2005, IAIAS was reconstituted as the ISIAQ Academy of Fellows.

Prof. Niu received his certificate of fellowship at the 13th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, which was held at the University of Hong Kong on 7-12 July 2014. One of his PhD students, Wu Yan, also won a Best Student Paper Award at the conference. It was entitled “Numerical investigation of required mechanical ventilation exhaust rate to avoid expiration from open windows caused by buoyancy,” and explored possible designs to reduce air-borne cross infections in multiple-story residential buildings. Congratulations to both of them.

Visit by Lyceum of the Philippines University

On 22 January 2015, a group of 14 delegates from the Lyceum of the Philippines University paid a courtesy visit to The Hong Kong Polytechnic University to explore opportunities for exchange and collaborations. The visitors included five management and faculty staff from the Department of Engineering and Architecture. They were met by Prof. You-Lin Xu, Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE); Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Associate Dean (Teaching) of FCE; Prof. Edwin Chan, Associate Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate; and Dr Henry Lee and Dr Mark Hsu, Assistant Professors in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.


Visit by University of Westminster

A delegation from the University of Westminster in the UK visited The Hong Kong Polytechnic University on 14 January 2015. Among the visitors was Prof. David Dernie, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, who met with Prof. Xiaoli Ding, Associate Dean (Partnership) of the Faculty of Construction and Environment, and Dr Patrick Fong, Associate Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate. They had a fruitful discussion exploring opportunities for collaboration in research, student exchange, joint summer schools, and professional development.


The 9th Annual Seminar on Spatial Information Science and Technology (ASSIST’14)

The 9th Annual Seminar on Spatial Information Science and Technology (ASSIST’14) was successfully held on the PolyU campus on 19 December 2014, drawing more than 100 participants from various Hong Kong government departments and industries.

Hosted annually by the Department of Land Surveying & Geo-Informatics (LSGI), the seminar provided a platform for discussing the latest advances in spatial information science and technology and their applications in Hong Kong.

The seminar was officially opened by Prof. John W.Z. Shi, Head of LSGI, and Sr Simon Kwok, President of The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors. Delegates from different universities, departments and industries showcased their research projects and discussed their findings with the participants. Prof. Shi moderated a closing panel discussion with representatives from the Survey and Mapping Office of the Lands Department, the Civil Engineering and Development Department, the Highways Department, the Planning Department, the Water Supply Department, the Transport Department and the Hong Kong Observatory. The panel highlighted the future needs of spatial information technologies in Hong Kong (including GIS, remote sensing, satellite positioning, and advanced surveying techniques).

The 19th International Conference of Hong Kong Society for Transportation Studies

The 19th International Conference of Hong Kong Society for Transportation Studies (HKSTS) was successfully held from 13-15 December 2014 at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong. Jointly organized by the HKSTS and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), the conference had transportation and infrastructure as its theme, covering topics related to both the software and hardware of a sustainable transportation system, such as Transportation Infrastructure and Built Environment; Sustainability Issues in Transportation; Transportation Surveys; Travel Behaviour Modelling; Technology, Transportation and Telecommunications; Logistics and Supply Chain Management; Transport Dynamics; and Transport Management. Mrs. YEUNG HO Poi Yan Ingrid, JP, Commissioner for Transport of the Transport Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, was invited as the keynote speaker.

Generously supported by Autotoll Limited and the Faculty of Construction and Environment, the conference provided an excellent platform to share insights on the design, analysis, planning, operation, co-ordination and management of transport infrastructure projects together with their impacts. It attracted over 240 submissions from researchers across five continents. After a vigorous review process, over 130 papers covering a spectrum of research topics were accepted for presentation. With more than 220 participants from all over the world, the annual conference of HKSTS was indeed an international event for exchanging and archiving knowledge on the development of advanced transportation research.


LSGI Introduced to Secondary Students

On 7 January 2015, Ir Dr Wallace Lai of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) visited Diocesan Boys’ School to share with over 200 Grade 10-12 students the use of ground penetrating radar (GPR) to study and map the subsurface in 3D. In particular, he presented a case study about the discovery of a Tang Dynasty cemetery in San Tau, Tung Chung, which significantly enhances our understanding of local history of military and civilian activities during that period.

Dr Lai demonstrated how GPR is used to outline the hotspots or what archaeologists call 'juicy locations', where clusters of grave goods, including coins, iron weapons, a silver inscribed ingot, and pottery, were unearthed after at least 1000 years in the ground. The work was led by Dr Mick Atha, a local archaeologist, funded by Hong Kong Archaeological Society (HKAS), and supported by a group of people from very diverse backgrounds. During his visit, Dr Lai also introduced FCE and LSGI to DBS students and teachers.

Meanwhile, a group of F.6 students from Pui Ching Middle School visited Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) on the same day to learn more about the department. Mr Kent Lam introduced the subjects and the programmes on offer, their admission requirements and career prospects of the graduates. After 3 BSc students shared their experiences of studying at LSGI, doing an internship and exchanging to a foreign university, Dr George Liu showed the visiting students some GNSS instruments and explained their functions. The students then visited the Underground Utility Survey Laboratory, where Dr Wallace Lai again demonstrated the use of ground penetrating radar (GPR).

The visit programme was well received by both the secondary teachers and students. It was definitely a good opportunity for them to better understand the available choices and career paths associated with study in LSGI.


Taught Postgraduate Info Day

On 10 January 2015, the Taught Postgraduate Info Day was held on the PolyU campus. Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment, gave an overview of the Postgraduate Scheme in Construction and Environment to a crowd of over 100. This was followed by break-out sessions on individual postgraduate programmes that were attended by more than 260 people. The total number of attendees represents a 27% increase over last year’s Info Seminar.


Scholarship Student Graduates with Distinction

XI Yifan, a recipient of the 2013/14 Entry Scholarship, has completed the MSc programme in Geomatics (Geographic Info Systems) with Distinction in Semester One of 2014/15. During the one and a half years he spent studying at PolyU, he has learnt much and made many friends.

“On the one hand, I gained much knowledge and skills in classes; on the other hand, I also learnt how to get along with other people, especially those who have different opinions. What is more important, I learnt how to work with others in a team. In the whole process, I learnt how to communicate with others, find the key points of a project, how to arrange tasks for every member of a team and work hard to finish my own tasks. Teamwork taught me how to solve practical problems.”

Mr Xi hopes to find a job in Hong Kong and settles down.

Mr XI Yifan

Invitation for Programme Admission 2015/16

Applications are now invited for the following taught postgraduate programmes.

For details, please visit at

Master of Science (MSc)/Postgraduate Diploma (PgD)
Building Services Engineering 屋宇設備工程學
Civil Engineering 土木工程學
Construction and Real Estate 建築及房地產學
Construction Law and Dispute Resolution 建築法及爭議解決學
Environmental Management and Engineering 環境管理及工程學
Facility Management 設施管理
Fire and Safety Engineering 消防及安全工程學
Geomatics (Geographic Information Systems) 測繪及地理資訊學(地理資訊)
Geomatics (Surveying) 測繪及地理資訊學(測量)
High Performance Buildings 高效能建築
Project Management 項目管理
Sustainable Urban Development 可持續城市發展學

For programme details, please visit

Faculty Public Lectures

The Faculty of Construction and Environment was honoured to have the following speakers giving lectures at FCE:

Prof. Roberto Ballarini

FCE Public Lecture
"Structural Testing at the Micro and Nano Scales: Breaking Invisible Specimens with Zero Force"

Prof. Roberto Ballarini
Thomas and Laura Hsu Professor and Chair
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Houston

Date: 5 January 2015 (Mon) (Details)

Prof. Ahsan Kareem

FCE Distinguished Lecture
"Cyberinfrastructure Based Analysis, Simulation, Design and Monitoring of Tall Buildings Under Winds"

Prof. Ahsan Kareem
Robert M. Moran Professor of Engineering
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences
Director of the NatHaz Modeling Laboratory
University of Notre Dame

Date: 12 January 2015 (Mon) (Details)

Forthcoming Events

HKIE Student Chapter Engineers’ Night
Environmental Pollution on a Regional Scale – Research in the Pearl River Delta Region, South China

Date & Time: 27 Feb 2015 (Fri), 7:00p.m. to 10:00p.m.
Venue: Chinese Garden (南北小廚), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Target: all Engineering students
Price: $100 per person
Registration: (deadline: 1 February 2015)

Fundraising for Children’s Cancer Foundation
Date: 1-3 Feb 2015
Venue: G/F lobby of Red Hall in Homantin Students’ Residence
Homemade cookies will be on sale.

2nd International Conference on Performance-based and Lifecycle Structural Engineering (PLSE 2015)
Date: 9-11 Dec 2015
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Australia

Academic Vacancies - FCE     Academic Vacancies - FCE

Faculty of Construction and EnvironmentDepartment of Building and Real EstateDepartment of Building Services EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental EngineeringDepartment of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics

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